Restore, Reach Out, and Rejuvenate was the theme of the TEDxAnantU event held at Anant National University. Five experts, practitioners, and inspirational thought leaders came together at the event to offer ideas and inspire young people to adapt to a changing environment. Over 100 people showed up for the event, which took place on the Ahmedabad campus of Anant National University.
After the opening ceremony, speakers including Dr Benny Kuriakose, an architectural consultant, Aparna Piramal Raje, an author and columnist, Hetal Shrivastav, the founder of RaasLeela Textile, Gurashish Sahni, the co-founder of ReCircle, and Khushi Jhankaria gave opening remarks before the event began (Design student and multi-instrumentalist). Captivating kathak performance by artist Vaishnavi Vakil brought the day to a close.
Commenting on the event, Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost of Anant National University, said, “TEDx is a global platform for leaders from all walks of life to come together and share their experiences and learnings. TEDxAnantU brought together leading practitioners on themes that resonate with our philosophy of nurturing solutionaries. Collaboration and innovation are essential aspects of learning at AnantU and each of these speakers represents that in their own spaces. It was an inspirational day for everyone on campus”.
Speakers at TEDxAnantU
An award-winning pioneer in sustainable building and climate-responsive design, Dr Benny Kuriakose. His design technique is a reflection of his familiarity with and respect for regionally distinctive architecture and workmanship. He has served as a consultant for UNDP, UNESCO, the Muziris legacy project, numerous state governments, and non-governmental organisations. Additionally, Dr Kuriakose won the Charles Wallace India Trust prize.
“Technologies used in the built environment have impacted the climate negatively. The solution lies not in mindless copying of vernacular or western architecture styles, but in building knowledge, harnessing and adapting it. The key to sustainability lies in the reinterpretation of vernacular architecture with practical usage of modern techniques”, said Dr Kuriakose during his TEDxAnantU talk on Sustainable Architecture.
Gurashish Singh Sahni, Co-Founder and COO at ReCircle (est. in 2015), is a homegrown social entrepreneur. His venture has successfully diverted 41,000 tonnes of untreated waste from contaminating landfills and oceans and reintroduced it into the economy, where the waste is either repurposed, reused or recycled.
“Surveys have shown that one-third of the millennials would make sustainable choices and pick sustainable products despite them costing more. We must go beyond talking about sustainability. The time is here to take action”, said Gurashish Sahni during his talk titled ‘Redesigning World for Sustainability.
Aparna Piramal Raje is a writer and columnist on various topics, including business, design leadership, workplaces and mental health. An Oxford and Harvard Business School alumna, she has recently authored Chemical Khichdi: How I Hacked My Mental Health, a book on her experiences of living with a severe mental health condition for the last two decades.
“Language of empathy, trust and vulnerability is the best cure for mental health. How one views mental health is reflected in the language s/he chooses. They can choose to speak the language of stigma and difference or the one that heals and liberates. The strength lies in the words one chooses, and the dialogue one has with self”, said Aparna Piramal Raje during her talk on Mental Health.
Hetal Shrivastav, a NIFT alumna, is the Founder and Creative Head of RaasLeela Textile. Focused on uplifting working female artisans, RaasLeela is a concept-based brand making 100% hand-sewn products, focused on sustainability, the individuality of each artist coupled with the irregularity of handmade.
“Craft in need of help is the failure of design intervention. Our craftsmen know their work. What they need is the right direction. As designers, we must help them get their dues, introduce their craft in the market, give them livelihood and empower them”, Said Hetal Shrivastav during her talk on sustainable fashion.
With programmes including the Bachelor of Design, Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Design, and Master of Architecture, Anant National University has been a leader in sustainability and technology education since its founding. AnantU has been providing the highly sought-after Anant Fellowship for Climate Action since 2020, a special one-year immersive global programme for climate change solutions. At AnantU, all programmes give students the chance to learn about and contribute to sustainable solutions through the use of design thinking.